Frustration with A1E and programmable remote
A bit long, but hoping someone can help...
I recently bought an XBR77A1E, and while I love the set in general, it's driving me crazy trying to get it to pay nice with my old work-horse Harmony One programmable remote. 90% is fine, but the last 10% is driving me crazy...
For basic TV watching, I use a Tivo and want the audio to come from the A1E itself (ie: I don't want 5.1 audio). To accomplish this, I have the Tivo wired via HDMI into my Denon receiver, and the receiver is set for HDMI pass-through of the Tivo signal when it's powered off. The A1E is set to [Action]->[Speakers]->[TV Speakers]. All good.
For blu-ray, game consoles, etc (all of which are wired to the receiver), I want 5.1 audio, so I turn the receiver on, select the correct receiver input, and mute the TV. Again, all good.
Now the case that fails: I want to use the A1E's streaming apps for 4K Netflix, Amazon, etc, with 5.1 audio. I want to use the A1E's streaming apps because my Tivo (a 6 tuner Roamio w/ 1TB) doesn't output 4K (which has been fine, since Comcast has so little 4K content). So... my goal is to program a Harmony One button for "Streaming content" that sets everything up, and then I simply select the desired app in the A1E. For the audio path, I have digital audio fiber running from the A1E to the Denon, and can easily select that as the input. The problem is getting the TV to generate the audio down that fiber.
To make this work, the required setting is [Action]->[Speakers]->[Audio system], and then change back to ->[TV Speakers] when exiting this mode. But I have yet to find a simple -- and more important, reliable -- way to change between the [TV Speakers] and [Audio system] settings in the [Action]->[Speakers] menu.
There are a few problems:
1) When the receiver powers on/off, it seems to kick the A1E out of the Actions menu.
2) When you send the "Action" press, you don't know where in the Action menu your "cursor" really is.
So I used the following brute force method to solve for these:
To get into the Streaming mode:
- Turn Receiver on
- Sleep for 10 seconds (for it to power up, and the A1E to see the hdmi line as stable)
- Send the "Action" button
- Wait a half second (or the next button sent gets lost)
- Send a series of 7 "Down Arrow" buttons to ensure I've hit the bottom of the Actions menu
- Send a single "Up Arrow" button to get to the "[Speakers]" menu.
- Send the "Select" button to enter the "[Speakers]" menu
- Sleep for 1 second (or the next button gets lost)
- Send a "Down Arrow" button to move to the "[Audio system]" radio button
- Send a "Select" button to select the "[Audio system]" option
- Send a "Home" button to get back out
And to exit Streaming mode, it's similar but requires 8 down-arrow buttons in the [Actions] menu, as there is an additional menu item when in the [Audio system] mode.
Though that seems crazy imo, it should work. But it only works 80% of the time. The other 20%, I can see the sequence get into the [Action] menu, but a down-arrow gets lost somewhere so I don't make it all the way to the bottom of the menu, and thus when it goes back up one item to attempt to get to [Speakers], it's really on the menu above that.
I've tried slowing down the inter-key and inter-device delays, but it hasn't made it more reliable. And it's already taking an absurd amount of time to run through that menu sequence button-by-button.
Are there any easier (and more reliable) ways to toggle the audio output between [TV Speakers] and [Audio system]? Or have both [TV Speakers] and [Audio system] on at the same time (and I can just Mute the TV)?
I'm also very surprised that the A1E "loses" buttons sent to it if you don't wait (a long time) for the menu to paint.
The other alternative is to punt on using the A1E's apps completely, and use a different box with all of the 4K apps I want, and have this wired just like any other receiver input. eg: a 4K tivo or blu-ray player with apps or ... This will certainly work, but it seems silly I can't leverage the apps in the TV...